The bulk density of grain in a storage structure varies vertically and horizontally due to the overburden pressure created by the cumulative weight of the overlying material. As the overburden pressure increases, the stored material compacts. This compaction is believed to be caused by rearrangement of kernels along with higher intergranular stress between particles, leading to kernel deformation. This compaction is of primary concern when estimating the amount of grain in a storage structure. In this comprehensive study, confined uniaxial compression tests were conducted on 27 different samples of hard red winter wheat, at three moisture levels, over the range of pressures typically encountered in storage structures (0 to 138 kPa). Mathematical models using the prior, modified, and new forms of the bulk density equation were evaluated to describe the resulting pressure-density relationship as a function of moisture content. With the new data set, the modified version of the Page equation had the lowest root mean square error (RMSE) of 4.7 kg m-3, while the other equations, including the original polynomial equation used in the WPACKING program, had RMSEs between 6.0 and 7.1 kg m-3. The models were validated using previously published compressibility data and the root mean square prediction error was determined to vary from 8.1 to 13.4 kg m-3. Four of the best performing models were subsequently applied to field measurements from 35 concrete and 16 steel bins. When applied to the field data a slight bias was observed in steel and concrete bins, but several of the models, including the modified Page and polynomial models, produced an average error of less than 2% from the measured grain mass.

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Published in Transactions of the ASABE, v. 59, issue 3, p. 1029-1038.

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This research was supported by the USDA (CRIS No. 5430-43440-007-00D).

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The information reported in this article (No. 15-05-072) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.